Lack of inventory will be the greatest Challenge facing housing markets across the country this Spring, according to a report released today by RE/MAX. The RE/MAX Market Trends Report 2010, which examined real estate trends and developments in 16 markets across the country, found that unusually strong activity during one of the traditionally quietest months of the year has led to a sharp decline in active listings in 81 per cent of markets surveyed. The threat of higher interest rates, tighter lending criteria, and in British Columbia and Ontario, the introduction of the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) have clearly served to kick-start real estate activity from coast-to-coast, prompting an unprecedented influx of purchasers. As a result, 87.5 per cent of
markets posted an increase in sales in January. Average price appreciated in 81 per cent of markets surveyed. “There have never been so many motivating factors in play at once,” says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “We’re in for a heated Spring market that will, in all probability, spill over into the summer months, as the window of opportunity draws to a close. The supply of homes listed for sale has been drastically reduced, housing values are once again on the upswing, and banks and governments are moving in unison toward stricter lending policies.” Markets experiencing the tightest inventory levels include Toronto (- 41 per cent); Kitchener-Waterloo (-33 per cent); Ottawa (- 30 per cent); Victoria (- 30 per cent); Greater Vancouver (- 27 per cent); Halifax-
Dartmouth (- 19 per cent); London-St. Thomas (- 18 per cent); Regina (- 16 per cent); and Winnipeg (- 13 per cent). Conditions were still balanced, but starting to tighten in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon,particularly in the single-family detached category.